First things first. I can see how many of you off the spectrum, those referred to as neurotypicals, could read the headline as saying that people off the spectrum don’t understand people on the spectrum.
That’s NOT what I’m saying at all. I’m saying it’s true that many on the spectrum aren’t understood by those off, there are also moments that we don’t understand what we’re going through at a particular moment.
This week I had a couple of those moments. Moments where a friend saw one thing and I saw another. I hate when that happens because I ‘m not stupid. I know that depression and anxiety are constant companions of mine as they are for many on the spectrum.
I try to do a good job of assessing a situation and how I will react or am going to react to it, but I don’t have a crystal ball and don’t always see everything in the correct light when it comes to me. I think, “I played ice hockey for years. I’m tough. I can get through this.”
But I can’t and know I can’t
As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, I tend to shy away from social situations, so my circle of friends is very small and tends to be mostly colleagues. I’m telling this so you understand I don’t have a clan or posse to go and hang out with to talk things over. I internalize, try to deal with things myself and then a bad situation just gets worse.
When I get frustrated, as happened several times this week, I get down on myself in a big way. You see, with my Asperger’s comes a high IQ, that makes me feel like I should be able to figure out whatever the problem is. It also comes with not being able to figure out why i can’t “get” whatever it is that I’m supposed to be getting. If you think that feeling is amazing, you would be wrong.
There’s a song by 90’s alternative one-hit wonder Lit that should be my ring tone. One line from the song in particular defines my life, though I wish it wouldn’t.
It’s no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy
Cuz’ every now and then I kick the living s*** out of me
I don’t beat myself up physically but I will take on pretty much anyone that wants to get into a battle of beating themselves up mentally. I’m not proud if it, but over my many years of life, I’ve learned how to do it.
But now I need to learn something else. How to stop it.
You see, the week that was, was a week from hell. It was a week that left me sitting in a dark room for several hours on my birthday because I really had nothing better to do and because I was reflecting back on my life and seeing all the things I haven’t accomplished in my life.
I also tried to figure out how to make my life better, but I wasn’t getting clear answers. I never seem to get clear answers to those questions and when I do, the answers fill me with fear and I don’t want to pursue the thing that I know in my heart is the best thing for me. Stupid, huh?
So how do we get through life when we have little understanding from our support circle, if we have one, or from ourselves? The answer is one step at a time. We need to take things slowly and take in all the information that we can about the situation so we can understand it.
We also need to remember that even though we feel like we can figure things out and that we can get through certain situations, we don’t always have that luxury and that’s ok. It’s called being human. I forget that on a regular basis because I KNOW that I should be able to figure things out, but the reality is that I should know I can’t.
Helping others on the spectrum means that I have to get myself tuned up from time to time and I do work on that on a regular basis. I’ve found someone who understands disabilities, setbacks and frustration. It’s a slow process, but I’m grateful for my friend and colleague Brian King who helps me to be the best me that I can be.
Does he get in my face? Yeah, when I need it? Does he hold back any punches or withhold any BS? Absolutely not.
So, to sum it up, the key to getting through our weeks, both the rough ones and the easy ones, is to work with our families and inner circle of friends but also to take an introspective look at ourselves. Do what we do best and put those brains to work!
Break down the situation and go through it step by step so that you can figure out what went right and what needs to be worked on.
Being on the spectrum is nothing to be ashamed of and there’s no reason to look down on ourselves for who we are. The sooner we realize this, the sooner our problems will lessen and our life will seem easier.
Join the Mental Wellness FACEBOOK GROUP here.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy Pixabay